2015 EDUCATION AWARD
Miriam Mason-Sesay passionately believes in the power of education to destroy poverty. Arriving in Sierra Leone in 2000 at the end of a brutal civil war, Miriam began working to improve a severely broken education system. Her first “school” was the back veranda of a rented house, where she began teaching 20 children. Today the organization she co-founded, EducAid Sierra Leone, has expanded to nine schools serving 3,000 students. Most of these students are underprivileged and war-affected young people.
In addition to running nine EducAid schools, the organization also runs outreach programs to support improvements in partner schools. They use these programs to spread EducAid’s high standards of training and strong ethical code beyond their own schools. These training programs focus on ensuring accurate subject content, encouraging independent learning, active teaching methodologies, positive behavior management, values-led teaching, and – perhaps most radically – girl-friendly strategies.
Ensuring that women genuinely participate in education is one of the founding pillars of EducAid. Traditionally in Sierra Leone educating girls has been less valued than educating boys. These values have been internalized by the girls themselves and many have given up on themselves. To combat this, EducAid has started a number of projects to help girls reach their full educational potential. The organization encourages girls and women with any level of education to return to school and provides special classes for this purpose through their “Women’s Project”. More than 600 girls have re-joined mainstream schooling through the project. The organization has also launched a girls’ Safe House to provide a safe, happy environment for primary school age girls.